Auld Acquaintances

Auld Acquaintances

So the next day it was back to Bocas AGAIN (this was a long month). I had some very special guests to pick up.

Matt, Sarah, Alice, Mandy, Susan and Lindsey. OH YES!!!

The eagle-eyed amongst you might spot a rather familiar face there.

Yep, it’s Mandy.

For those of you who are newbies to my life, Mandy was my long-suffering girlfriend during The Odyssey Expedition. By the time we split up in 2012, we had been together for over 10 years.

But when I say “we’re still good friends” I actually mean “we’re still good friends”… so much so that she flew over to Panama from Australia to be here for New Year.

So all-in-all, I had Liverpool Anna, Scottish Anna, Sarah N, Susan, Matt, Alice, Lindsey and Mandy round to Jinja for New Year.

What could possibly go wrong?

That night we all got excessively drunk, went swimming in the boat dock, drowned an iPod and broke a hammock.

The next day Eduardo and Bill took Matt and I all the way to Almirante in the pouring rain. Why? Because we needed ourselves some pig, that’s why.

Yep, it wouldn’t be a jungle barbecue without a roast pig, so I bought one whole (via Ernie, my main man from Tierra Oscura).

Only… I’ve never dealt with a pig before. I really didn’t know what I was doing… although that’s never stopped me before.


Bill and Janis were good enough to lend us their cooler box to store the pig in overnight – the only problem was that it didn’t fit.

Like, its head would have to come off.

With a hacksaw. And I’m mighty squeamish. But you know, if you’re going to live in the jungle, you have to do jungle-y things.

Image blurred for reasons of taste and decency.

But we persevered. Matt and I filled and surrounded it with ice and it fit nicely into the cooler.


Thank God.

Pig in a box. Nice one!

So then. That night Susan and I put up a fence around the chickens and, with the help of Scottish Anna, put plastic sheeting around the new downstairs deck to keep the wood dry. Like, seriously, with the high tides and all the rain we’ve been having it’s a swamp down there at the moment (as you can see from the photos). Later we played the UK edition of Cards Against Humanity that my friends brought me from England.




Matt and I woke up at 5am to go start the barbecue as it would take several hours to cook the pig. Bill and Janis were so kind and lent us their big re-purposed oil-drum of a thing. However, it was pouring down with rain so we went back to sleep.

Susan, Scottish Anna and I had put the plastic sheeting down around the house the night before, but now it was time to fill in the trench. Thankfully I had some incredible women on hand to help out (also note the wood covering the cinder block walls here… thanks to Bjorn and B-Man for that one)…

Where would I be without a girl and a shovel?

Meanwhile, the pig situation needed addressing.

Lindsey getting her hands on a not-so-Kosher-Roast.

Since it’s pretty impossible to light a fire in the pouring rain, we set up the BBQ under the solar panel roof to the side of the new deck, in the wet mud. Wellington boots all round.

As I said earlier, we really, REALLY didn’t know what we were doing. We simply lit the coals, then dumped the pig on the grill…


…splashed on some soy sauce and ran away.

The important thing is that you *look* like you know what you’re doing.

Matt and I high-tailed it back to Bocas (AGAIN) for a beer-spirits-food-stereo supply run. We didn’t get back until 2pm. By which time the my neighbours had all turned up wondering where I was.


Although, truth be told I was more concerned about the pig. Had we just left it as it was it would have been a big burnt mess on the outside and raw bacterial death on the inside. Fortunately, my awesome neighbour Bruce turned up in the nick of time and saved the day.

The legend that is Bruce.

He sensibly chopped it to pieces with a machete and cooked it like it was supposed to be cooked. And the pig was all good.

Seriously, yum.

By the way, that’s not some Instagram blur filter, my camera got soaked on the way back from Bocas!

Tuck in boys and girls!
Mandy, being Australian, soon claimed mastery over all things barbie.
Matt is not angry here. This is his victory pose.
Graham and Mandy, back once again with the Renegade Master.

Earlier, while we were in town, Matt bought me the greatest invention known to man: R2-Disco. This little fella is a nightclub in a box. It plays music (loud), has Bluetooth, karaoke, a socket for your electric guitar, its own back-up battery (amazing!) AND a disco light ball on top!


What more do you need?

It was approaching midnight and everyone was wrecked. Scottish Anna decided to give silly old gravity a run for its money.

The gang all came together for this epic selfie…


And then, on the stroke of midnight, this happened…

Well here’s how I greeted 2015…NSFW.Fair warning 😉

Posted by Graham Hughes on Fry’day, Januarrrry 2, 2015




Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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